Friday, in a press conference at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in Lisbon, carried by the official websites of the two Spanish Football rivals, Real Madrid's Iker Casilla, Carlo Ancelotti, and Sergio Ramos, and Atletico Madrid's Juanfran and Diego Simeone, discussed their teams' chances and other issues surrounding tomorrow's Champions League Final.
Casillas said: "The side have the will, desire and courage, and want to...play in a game as great as the final. If we win, it will be remembered forever. We arrive on a great run and deserve to be in the final."
Asked what the difference will be between the Madrid rivals he said: "In the finals the details count. In decisive matches [one] sees a solid team that takes its chances."
Ancelotti added: "The winners will be those who play more as a side and if we're capable of playing as we did in Munich, we can with the competition. Our intention is to play with our style and characteristics. I predict a close match tactically."
Simeone responded to questions about his injured players by saying: "We will evaluate Diego [Costa] and Arda [Turan] in today's training. Yesterday they were feeling better and in reality, we'll act according to how they feel. They are important players but there are two other players who know they will play if Arda and Costa don't."
Asked what he has told his team he said: "We must take advantage of the chances we have to hurt the rival. It's the best way to face a group [such as Real Madrid]."
Juafran added: "There are no favorites, everything is even. Our key is standing strong as a team, competing...doing what we've done in all the finals and major games...[and knowing] that the attention, concentration and details are the keys that would define the match."
Asked about the readiness of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Pepe, and about the fact that Xabi Alonso is suspended due to cumulative yellows, Ancelotti responded: "Today's training is important to assess the situation. Ronaldo and Bale don' have issues, while Pepe and Benzema will train today and we will see what decision we'll make tomorrow. We have two options to replace Xabi, [Asier] Illaramendi and [Sami] Khedira."
Ancelotti expanded his comments to discuss the locker room: "From my first day I could see that the players are serious and professional, they work well together. They all try to help each other and it's the first time I've had a season without any problems with players getting angry." Perhaps he knew what was really at stake this year better than most thought he did.
All of those involved in the pursuit of the Champions League trophy, whether for the Decima or La Primera, know each other well and seemed primed for a battle that neither shies away from. The stakes could not be higher for the players, coaches, and clubs alike--Real is looking to add an exclamation point to its long history with what is arguably one of its better sides, playing at its highest level. They are in search of a continuity of excellence that has been elusive until recently.
Atleti is trying to "pioneer" its own history with a team that has overachieved already and yet is cognizant they are in pursuit of a short-lived self-definition. Ironically, given their individual and collective performances this year, a number of those on the roster tomorrow will most likely not be on it next season.
Regardless of who receives the fates' smiles tomorrow, both teams will have written a bright new chapter for their club in the Spanish and European annals of football, and one will have a full year to brag about it in pubs in their same home city.